Faculty Profile

Theresa Gillespie, PhD

Theresa W. Gillespie, PhD, MA, BSN

(Primary) Professor, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

(Secondary) Clinical Associate, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University

(Clinical Appointment) Professor, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine and Primary Care, and Division of Research, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Associate Director, Community Outreach and Engagement, Winship Cancer Institute





Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member



Dr. Gillespie has three decades of experience in clinical oncology, including direct patient care. She developed and led the clinical trials programs at Winship Cancer Institute, conducting prospective therapeutic and cancer control studies for 14 years. As director of health services research at the Atlanta VA Medical Center for 10 years, she built and directed a program targeting such chronic conditions as cancer, and investigated various key outcomes, including mortality, morbidity, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and costs.

Dr. Gillespie's research involves multiple cancer types, encompassing clinical, health services, and population-based investigations. Her breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer studies have been funded by multiple NIH institutes, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CDC, American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, and the Avon and Movember foundations, and have focused on informed decision-making, measurement of quality and guideline concordant care, cancer disparities (including racial, socioeconomic, and rural/urban underserved), risk communications, and the intersection of technology, patient comprehension, and outcomes.

Dr. Gillespie often consults VA, NSQIP, SEER, Medicare, and other national datasets in her research, and serves as the institutional lead for oncology health services research using the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) files for pancreatic, non-small cell lung cancer, esophageal, breast, gastric, melanoma, and prostate cancers. Dr. Gillespie is also funded by the Gates Foundation for a global web-based tool, the Global Health Primer, which provides education and information on research and development for neglected diseases and such non-communicable diseases as cancer in low- and middle-income countries.


View Dr. Gillespie's publications in PubMed.


  • Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

  • Atlanta VA Medical Center


  • BA in Communication Studies/Interpersonal Communications, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, 1976

  • MA in Health Education, Graduate School, University of Florida, 1977

  • BS in Nursing, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, 1981

  • PhD, Division of Educational Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Emory University, Specialty Track: Administration and Leadership in Higher Education & Research Methodology, 1998

Honors and Awards

  • CDC Service Award, CDC Global Health Workforce Panel, 2019

  • Excellence in Nursing Alumni Award, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing of Emory University, 2018

  • Gold Award for Best Use of Video in Media Communications, American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, 2018

  • Top 2% of Cancer Journal Reviewers, 2016, 2017

  • Glenn Research Scholar, Glenn Family Breast Cancer Center, 2014-2016

  • Oncology Nursing Society, Travel Scholarship, Annual ONS Congress, 2013

  • Association of Veterans Affairs Hematology and Oncology Distinguished Lectureship, October 2012

  • Who's Who in America, 2006

  • Who's Who in American Nursing, 2000-2006

  • 2005 Excellence in Research Award, Georgia Nurses Association

  • Who's Who of Women Executives, 1996

  • Champion of Hope Cancer Control Distinguished Service Award, American Cancer Society, DeKalb County Unit, 1993

  • Public Education Award, American Cancer Society, DeKalb County Unit, 1988, 1989, 1992

  • Volunteer of the Year, American Cancer Society, DeKalb Unit, 1988

  • Cynthia Mallory Award for Leadership in Nursing, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, 1981

Editorships and Editorial Boards

  • Editorial Board, Cancer

  • Associate Editor, Original Research, Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology (JADPRO), Official Journal of the Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology & Oncology

  • Associate Editor, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) University

Current Organizational Memberships

  • World Health Organization: Technical Steering Committee, Global Health Research and Development Observatory; Working Group to Develop Mechanisms to Monitor and Report Research & Development for Neglected Diseases in Global Health

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology: ASCO University Faculty, ASCO Review Panel, ASCO University Editorial Board

  • American Academy of Nursing: Fellow

  • Association of Veterans Affairs Hematology Oncology

  • Movember Foundation

  • Oncology Nursing Society, National

  • Oncology Nursing Society, Metro Atlanta Chapter

  • Georgia Center for Cancer Research and Education: Board of Scientific Advisors; Emeritus, Board of Directors

  • Georgia Society for Clinical Oncology

  • International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research

  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

  • Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC)/Public Health Institute (PHI)/Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH): CUGH Global Health Workforce Panel to select and develop the next talent of global health experts through the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program

Research Focus

  • Decision-making and risk communications in cancer

  • Barriers to and facilitators of informed decision-making by minority and underserved populations

  • Measurement of quality of care

  • Disparities in cancer care and access

  • Health services research involving the examination of cancer outcomes and the linkage of large national, regional, and state databases

  • Global oncology research focused in low-and-middle-income countries